Woman whose eye was shot out by Utah cop gets probation
Farmington • Shot in the eye by a deputy after leading northern Utah police on a high-speed chase last November, Kristine Nicole Biggs has suffered more than the average person charged with similar crimes.
She was hospitalized for six days after being shot the bullet blinded her left eye and she sat in the Davis County jail for 42 days.
She will likely face $30,000 to $50,000 in medical expenses in an ongoing effort to treat the eye injury.
And, in the end, the Morgan County deputy who shot the Colorado woman was ruled not justified in using deadly force against her.
For all of these reasons, defense attorney Michael Edwards asked 2nd District Judge Michael Allphin on Monday to not sentence the woman to further jail time after she pleaded guilty to failure to respond to an officer's signal and driving under the influence.
Allphin, who called Biggs' injury "a large price to pay" for the crime, ultimately sentenced the 41-year-old Colorado woman to three years of supervised probation. She could have been sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Biggs was originally charged in Farmington's 2nd District Court with third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault and failure to respond to an officer's signal to stop, along with misdemeanor counts ranging from driving under the influence to driving on a suspended or revoked license and driving with an open alcoholic container.
As part of a plea deal, five of the charges were dismissed.
Deputy Davis County Attorney Rick Westmoreland also asked the judge for no jail time, reasoning that while Biggs was "given the benefit of the unjustified shooting," he also did not want to burden taxpayers with paying her hefty medical bills by keeping her incarcerated.
"We have to balance justice ... versus public interest," Westmoreland said.
Edwards said Biggs has no recollection of the events of Nov. 24, when a Morgan County deputy attempted to pull over the woman's pickup truck for a broken headlight. Instead, Biggs sped away, beginning a 40-mile pursuit that ended in Davis County, police have said.
Despite three of the pickup's tires being blown by a spike strips, Biggs made a U-turn and allegedly drove at two pursuing Morgan County deputies.
The pickup sideswiped the first cruiser and hit the second nearly head-on. The deputy from the first unit, meanwhile, had jumped out of his vehicle.
Davis County sheriff's Capt. Kenneth Payne, whose office investigated the officer-involved shooting, has said the deputy repeatedly ordered Biggs to turn off the engine and get out of the pickup, but she allegedly kept ramming the second cruiser.
It was then that Morgan County Sheriff's Sgt. Daniel Scott Peay shot Biggs through her windshield.
After a subsequent review of the shooting, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings issued a statement last month saying that Peay was not "squarely justified" in shooting Biggs.
But Rawlings added that no criminal charges would be filed against Peay.
"A unanimous jury would not convict Sergeant Peay of a crime when presented with all of the evidence," Rawlings wrote in his assessment of the officer's actions.
Neither of the Morgan officers was injured.
Biggs briefly spoke in court Monday, pleading with Allphin to allow unsupervised probation so she could continue alcohol treatment in California with her family.
"Your honor, I am determined to pay for what I did," she said. "I also ask that you allow me to do my recovery in California."
Allphin denied her request, telling the woman that he felt it was important that she be supervised by Utah probation authorities.